Iranians Enraged by Luxury Life of the Rich, Powerful

Iranians Enraged by Luxury Life of the Rich, Powerful

Thursday, 8 November, 2018 - 10:00
Iran's Revolutionary guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari. Reuters
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
With the dark clouds of economic crisis looming over the horizon for Iran, local activists have launched a campaign targeting some of the country’s richest elites and most influential figures.

Despite US sanctions threatening to eventually cripple the Iranian economy, alt-right conservative and Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari, alongside his son, continue to lead a life of luxury and housing exotic pets.

Seyed Mahdi Sadrossadati posted on Instagram a picture showing Jafari’s son posing next to a tiger resting on a mansion’s porch.

“A tiger at home? What’s going on?” Sadati wrote in the caption, unleashing his anger towards economic inequality between Iran’s rich and the public.

"And this from a 25-year-old youth who could not gain such wealth. People are having serious difficulty getting diapers for their children," he added.

The campaign blasted corruption and the splurging of the rich who are living lavishly, while the majority of Iranians slave away in an economy strained by US sanctions.

In addition to his written contributions, Sadrossadati has posted videos of debates between himself and some of those he has criticized.

In one, he confronted Mehdi Mazaheri, the son of a former central bank governor who was criticized online after a photograph appeared showing him wearing a large gold watch.

In a heated exchange, Sadrossadati shouted: "How did you get rich? How much money did you start out with and how much money do you have now? How many loans have you taken?"

Mazaheri, barely able to get in a reply, said he would be willing to share documents about his finances.

Children of more than a dozen other officials have been criticized online and are often referred to as "aghazadeh" - literally "noble-born" in Farsi but also a derogatory term used to describe their perceived extravagance.

The Iranian rial currency has hit 149,000 to the US dollar on the black market used for most transactions, down from around 43,000 at the start of 2018 as US President Donald Trump vowed to pull out of the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers aimed at curbing its nuclear program.

Public anger has been brewing in Iran for some time. Uprisings against economic hardship—faced brutal state repression that killed 25 protesters--began sprouting late last year and spread to over 80 cities and towns.

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